“Question for you, need opinions….at Cooma it was -10’, we froze. We expected cool/cold, but not this! We bought another blanket the next day and also updated our heater. That solved the problem of heating the van, but what to do re blankets. We have single beds, and cant really pile any more blankets on, every time I(we) move the blankets slide off…its all very annoying. What are your thoughts on sleeping bags? We have heard that it does get cold o/night in lots of places, so, we are wondering if it might be the better thing to do. Can you offer your thoughts on this? Has anyone has spoken to about this before?”
Perfect question for a blog post! Sure, we can give our opinion – but we’d love readers to give theirs, as well.
Tucked in the drawer under Rob’s bed in the caravan is his sleeping bag – the same one he took with him when he walked the Overland Track in Tasmania. When he slides into it, he’s as warm as toast. He rarely needs to use it, because we tend to choose destinations/time of year to avoid extremes of heat and cold – and mostly, our doonas do the trick.
It’s probably worth mentioning, too, that Rob has years of sleeping-bag use behind him. He’s been a scout (is also a Queen’s Scout); has attended Outward Bound, and also ran an outdoor education business with a partner – more camping, trekking, abseiling, kayaking, etc etc. He grew up in Bathurst, so lots of scout camps were cold.
Me? I’ve never slept in a tent in my life. I tried a sleeping bag, and didn’t like it; I felt like a mummy. (And getting up in the middle of the night to go to the loo was a pain, having to unzip a sleeping bag first.)
So I guess it’s not only a matter of whether sleeping bags keep you warmer (they do) but whether you like sleeping in one. Perhaps I’d change my mind if I bought a larger sleeping bag, with more room to twist and turn?
Anyway, here’s what Rob the I-like-sleeping-bags-man says: Yes, a sleeping bag will keep you warm. His top tips: buy a good-quality sleeping bag. Go for down-filled, and one that compresses well – you want it to be light-weight and to roll up into as small a package as possible. You’ll find that there are different ratings on sleeping bags according to the climate you’ll be using it for.
We have a range of warm coverings in the van, and we pack the van before a trip according to the expected weather conditions:
- A lightweight padded polyester comforter (the kind that doesn’t require a quilt cover)
- A slightly heavier down-filled doona (or quilt, whatever term you use) – we don’t like too much weight
- Two lightweight throws that add just enough warmth for the early hours of the morning if it’s mostly warm enough for just a sheet. We also use these to throw over our knees when watching TV at night or outside if it gets cooler when sitting around chatting.
If we know we’ll be expecting a range of weather conditions, and are heading for cooler country, then rather than taking up precious storage space with bulky bed coverings, we put both doonas on the bed. We simply sleep ON one and use the other on top.
Another option that we haven’t tried, that I heard about only recently, are the electric throw blankets (see this post).
All comments gratefully received!